169,000 Americans Drop Out of Labor Force in January As Unemployment Ticks Up

February 1, 2013 - 8:53 AM
Jobless Claims

A business employment specialist  helps a job searcher at WorkSource Oregon in Tualatin, Ore.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of Americans not in the labor force grew by 169,000 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report.

BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work. There were 89 million of them last month.

The number of people not in the labor force had declined in December to 88.8 million from 88.9 million in November.

The nation's unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point in January, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent, a level the Labor Department described as "essentially unchanged."

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent," the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. It said jobs were added in retail trade, construction, health care, and wholesale trade.

The number of unemployed persons, at 12.3 million, was little changed in January and has been at this level since Sept. 2012.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.3 percent), teenagers (23.4 percent), whites (7.0 percent), blacks (13.8 percent), and Hispanics (9.7 percent) showed little or no change in January. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7 million and accounted for 38.1 percent of the unemployed.

A bright spot is mining employment, which increased (+6,000) over the month; employment in this industry has risen by 23,000 over the past 3 months.

Employment edged down in transportation and warehousing in January (-14,000). Couriers and messengers lost 19,000 jobs over the month, following strong seasonal hiring in
November and December. Air transportation employment decreased by 5,000 in January.

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in January and has changed little, on net, since July 2012.